Race Street Friends Meetinghouse

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Race Street Meetinghouse
Race Street Meetinghouse and Visitors Center from Cherry Street.jpg
Race Street Friends Meetinghouse is located in Philadelphia
Race Street Friends Meetinghouse
Race Street Friends Meetinghouse is located in Pennsylvania
Race Street Friends Meetinghouse
Race Street Friends Meetinghouse is located in the US
Race Street Friends Meetinghouse
Location 1515 Cherry St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 39°57′20″N 75°9′55″W / 39.95556°N 75.16528°W / 39.95556; -75.16528Coordinates: 39°57′20″N 75°9′55″W / 39.95556°N 75.16528°W / 39.95556; -75.16528
Built 1856
Architect multiple
Architectural style other
NRHP Reference # 93001610[1]
Added to NRHP November 4, 1993

The Race Street Meetinghouse is a historic and still active Quaker meetinghouse at 1515 Cherry Street at the corner of N. 15th Street in the Center City area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] The meetinghouse served as the site of the Yearly Meeting of the Hicksite sect of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from 1857 to 1955.

Built in 1856 by the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and what is now known as Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, a building 131 feet long by 80 feet wide was set fairly close to its Cherry Street frontage but sufficiently far back from Race Street to provide a pleasant open yard. The structure built was not just one meeting house, but two, so arranged and divided that either party could dispose of its property without affecting the property of the other. Construction brought two meeting rooms 36 feet high, the northern chamber being 60 feet by 80; the southern, 46 by 80. Each had "youth's galleries" on three sides. Between the two meetinghouses, and exceeding them by 16 feet in total width, was a 25-by-96-foot three-story structure containing large rooms for committee meetings and other purposes.[3]

The Race Street Meetinghouse was at the forefront of women's involvement both in Quaker religion and in American political activism.[2] Many leaders in the Women's Movement were associated with this meetinghouse; these included abolitionist and women's rights activist Lucretia Mott, peace activist Hannah Clothier Hull, and suffrage leader and Equal Rights Amendment author Alice Paul.[4]

The meetinghouse was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993 for its role in the abolition of slavery, the advancement of women's suffrage, and the civil rights movement.[2]

The Meetinghouse is part of the Friends Center campus, which includes the National Office of the American Friends Service Committee, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, and the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the United Nations Association. It is the site of a copy of Sylvia Shaw Judson's statue of Mary Dyer, the 17th-century Quaker martyr.[5][6][7] The Friends Meeting Center, built in 1974, was designed by Cope & Lippincott.[8]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c Friends Center Corp., History of Friends Center. Accessed 27 November 2007.]
  3. ^ A Century of Race Street Meeting House 1856-1956 by Frances Williams Browin
  4. ^ National Park Service, National Historic Landmarks Program, Race Street Meetinghouse. Accessed 26 November 2007.
  5. ^ Friends Center Corp., About Friends Center. Accessed 27 November 2007.
  6. ^ Friends Center Corp., Directory of Tenant Organizations. Accessed 27 November 2007.
  7. ^ Friends Center Corp., Mary Dyer Sculpture - A Witness to Quaker Testimonies. Accessed 27 November 2007.
  8. ^ Gallery, John Andrew, ed. (2004), Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City (2nd ed.), Philadelphia: Foundation for Architecture, ISBN 0962290815 , p. 165

Further reading

  • Browin, Frances Williams A Century of Race Street Meeting House 1856-1956, Philadelphia PA: Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of Friends, 1956.

External links[edit]